Statement from Minister Seamus O'Regan on the 40th Annual Assembly of First Nations Annual General Assembly

Statement

Fredericton, New Brunswick (July 24, 2019) – The Minister of Indigenous Services, Seamus O'Regan, issued the following statement today:

"I am honoured to have taken part in the Assembly of First Nations' (AFN) Annual General Assembly (AGA) today, on the traditional territory of the Wolastoqey Nation.

The AFN and the Government of Canada have made remarkable progress together in recent years in improving health and well-being outcomes, working  to keep children and family together, and spurring economic prosperity for First Nations.

Since 2015, we have worked together with First Nations across the country to co-develop legislation, policies and programs that move us forward on the journey of reconciliation, as well as advance First Nations' vision of self determination.

For instance the recently passed Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families, is a landmark piece of legislation because it begins a new era where Indigenous peoples will be able to choose their own solutions for their children and families and create a better future for the generations to come.

We are also working co-operatively to address the education gap between First Nations and non-First Nations by investing close to $1.5 billion for school infrastructure and $2.6 billion in Kindergarten to Grade 12 education. National Chief Bellegarde and I have also announced a new co-developed framework aimed at strengthening First Nation control of education, respecting the regional diversity of First Nations education and better supporting students' needs.

Canada is also committed to supporting First Nations children in other key areas.  Budget 2019 is investing $1.2 billion in Jordan's Principle over three years to continue to help First Nations children obtain important services to address unmet needs. These include things such as speech therapy, educational supports, medical equipment, mental health services and more. From July 2016 to June 30, 2019, more than 260,000 request for First Nations children have been approved.

We are working with communities on economic and fiscal planning, and are moving towards implementing a new fiscal relationship between the Government of Canada and First Nations.

The key to this new relationship is predictable, sustainable, and adequate funding. One of the major steps we have taken towards this goal is the creation of 10-Year Grants. Along with a decade of predictable funding, these grants cut the burden of reporting by over 90 per cent. Starting this year, we've already had 85 communities sign up for these 10-Year Grants, with hopefully more interested in pursuing it next year.

The Government of Canada will continue to look to First Nations to ensure we live up to our commitments, and continue this important progress on the issues that matter most to First Nations."

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Kevin Deagle
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Seamus O'Regan
Minister of Indigenous Services
873-354-0987

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada
819-953-1160
SAC.media.ISC@canada.ca

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